Columbo: Season 5, Episode 2

A Case of Immunity (12 Oct. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 740 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 3 critic

The first secretary to the Suarian king may have immunity from the consequences of committing murder, but Lt. Columbo is wilier than any foreign diplomat.



(teleplay), (story), 2 more credits »
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Episode complete credited cast:
Hassan Salah
Rachman Habib
Police Commissioner
Brioni Farrell ...
Xenia (as Xenia Gratsos)
Barry Robins ...
The King
Dick Dinman ...
George Skaff ...
Nate Esformes ...
André Lawrence ...
Alafa (as Andre Lawrence)
Bill Zuckert ...
Capt. August
2nd Picketer
Harvey Gold ...
Jay Varela ...
Capt. Ortega


Columbo has to solve a crime at the embassy of a middle-east nation. The culture there is different, and the main suspects have diplomatic immunity. Also, to complicate matters, there is a student demonstration outside the gates, and the king is visiting the embassy. However, Columbo decides to investigate the matter in his own persistent way. Written by Maarten Hofman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | embassy | murder | gate | legation | See more »


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Release Date:

12 October 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sal Mineo is the second real life murder victim to play a murder victim in "Columbo". The same thing happened to a murder victim from Columbo: Murder by the Book (1971). See more »


The close up of Habib's license shows it was issued on 1/2/1974 and his birth date as 1918. This would make him 56 years old. See more »


Kermit Morgan: It is in the best interest of our government if there are no further contacts between yourself and Secretary Salah.
Lt. Columbo: Well, that''s all very well and good except for one thing.
Capt. August: What is that, Lieutenant?
Lt. Columbo: He's the murderer.
See more »

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User Reviews

A highly satisfying Columbo case
30 December 2002 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

Beneath a rather murky plot, this is a very pleasing and entertaining addition to the Columbo series with originality and familiarity present in equal measure.

Hector Elizondo plays the First Secretary of a Middle Eastern (Suarian) Embassy in the US, who murders the Chief of Security in a bid to enhance the power and influence he holds within his country. Masking it also as burglary and trying to frame one of the protesting students outside the Embassy, he quickly turns to framing his accessory to the murder, who also ends up a victim of the power struggle....

This is certainly a different slant on the usual Columbo mysteries, but it is all done convincingly, with Elizondo portraying a serious-minded, aloof villain with the straight-facedness it deserves. His scenes with Falk are clinical, substantial and well-portrayed, particularly as Columbo has initial difficulties in adapting to the culture of the Suarian natives within the Embassy as Elizondo's character looks on in mild disgust, thus maintaining a vitally important humorous air to proceedings.

Columbo's ongoing difficulties with the culture is mirrored well by the complexities of the case: however, the shift of power from villain to hero is gradually and effectively invoked - firstly, as a a complaint is put into the State department about Columbo, but secondly, and more significantly, as Columbo (in a tuxedo no less) greets the Suarian king in his own language at a lavish outdoor party, much to the shock of Elizondo's character. This scene also re-inforces Columbo's friendship with the King, something which plays an important part in the resolution soon after.

By his own admission, Columbo is hampered by too much circumstance and the inability to prosecute due to diplomatic immunity; so how does he solve the case? It is definitely worth waiting to find out...

Brisking pacing and many interesting scenes add the edge to a lively, well-judged Columbo adventure, which was made at a time when the writers had to become increasingly inventive when they conceived their scripts.

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